Professor Gerrit Zilvold, rehabilitation physician and general director at Roessingh, Centre for Rehabilitation, started the research activities at Roessingh. He wanted to carry out research within the rehabilitation setting of the centre and so he set up a new ‘Research & Innovation’ department in 1983.
The aim of this department was to improve the rehabilitation of patients with the help of scientific research. The research was not only aimed at the work at Roessingh, but also very clearly on the implementation of new applications at other rehabilitation centres.

Focus areas
During the first few years, the work mainly focused on electromyography (EMG), electrostimulation, the evaluation of healthcare technology, and what would later become quantitative gait image analysis. Later, the development of new supporting technologies and new training methods would also become a focus area.

Op 27 februari 1991 werd Roessingh Research and Development B.V. opgericht door Gerrit Zilvold en Hermie Hermens, en werden de onderzoeksactiviteiten verplaatst naar het huidige gebouw. In die tijd waren er ongeveer tien onderzoekers actief op het gebied van EMG, bewegingsanalyse en FES (functionele elektrische stimulatie).
In the mid-1990s, the number of researchers grew to about 30 and RRD broadened its research field to include quality of care, research into chronic pain, prosthesiology/orthesiology and robotics.

To strengthen the relationship with the University of Twente, three professorships were established at the university: ‘Neuromuscular control of human movement’, ‘Rehabilitation medicine and technology’ and ‘Technology supported cognitive training for rehabilitation’. In 2012, a fourth professorship was established: ‘Diagnosis and treatment of chronic pain and fatigue’. Due to this close collaboration with the University of Twente, RRD received academic recognition in 2002.

In 2004 werd Roessingh samen met RRD door het ministerie van VWS erkend als wetenschappelijk Innovatiecentrum voor Pijnrevalidatie en Revalidatietechnologie. Dankzij deze erkenning en de hierbij komende financiële ondersteuning konden veel nieuwe innovaties vanuit RRD daadwerkelijk in de zorgpraktijk worden geïmplementeerd.

In 2016, RRD became an independent company. The institute is led by a managing director who is supported by the management team. The shares are held by the RRD foundation. Rehabilitation technology and eHealth are the most important focus of the research.